The Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) started their national title defense on the right note, taking down the Loyola Greyhounds (0-1) 12-9 at Klöckner Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Virginia came out firing to get ahead 9-3 at the half. And while Loyola really started to put all the puzzle pieces together in the second half and did mount a comeback, the Cavaliers were able to stay ahead and secure the season-opening 12-9 victory.
While it was an impressive team performance from the Cavaliers on Saturday, redshirt freshman attackman Payton Cormier stole the show with his performance in his first-ever college game.
The Oakville, Ontario native arrived in Charlottesville, Va. last season with high expectations, being ranked as the No. 26 overall recruit and No. 6 attackman in the 2018 class by Inside Lacrosse. But Cormier unfortunately missed the spring with an injury.
Cormier, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound attackman, took the field for the first time as a Virginia Cavalier on Saturday, but was tasked with playing midfield instead of his natural attackman position. But he still made the most of his debut in Charlottesville, scoring three goals off of six shots in the Cavaliers’ season-opening win. He also scooped up one ground ball and recorded one caused turnover, as well. Needless to say, Cormier’s versatility is a good sign for the Cavaliers.
He had a highlight goal in the third quarter where he was able to fight through a short stick defender and got the shot to go while falling to the ground, further displaying his strength and toughness.
Lars Tiffany and the Cavaliers are going to benefit greatly late in the season from having a young player like Cormier that they can turn to and rely on to make plays all over the field. He already appears to be fitting into the Cavaliers’ style of play on offense and has certainly made his presence known after just one game.